McConnell: Senate will take up North Korea sanctions bill

McConnell: Senate will take up North Korea sanctions bill
© Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the upper chamber will soon take up sanctions legislation against North Korea after the country claimed it detonated a hydrogen bomb.

"Sen. [Cory] Gardner has been working on a North Korea sanctions bill. We anticipate it will come out of the Foreign Relations Committee very soon, and I intend to schedule floor time on it shortly," he told reporters. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The Republican leader met with Gardner, a Colorado Republican, and Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Corker pressed as reelection challenges mount MORE (R-Tenn.), the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, on the issue earlier Tuesday.

McConnell made the comments ahead of an expected House vote this week to approve legislation from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). That proposal would block North Korea’s access to hard currency and target its assets for nuclear development.

The reported tests from North Korea have sparked bipartisan concern from lawmakers, though the administration has disputed the isolated country's claims. The successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb by North Korea would both violate a United Nations Security Council resolution and mark an increase in the country's nuclear capabilities.

The top members of the Foreign Relations Committee also suggested after a classified briefing with administration officials on Monday evening that they would expect the Senate to take action on sanctions legislation.

Corker said that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation and "so we're going to go through it methodically."

The Tennessee Republican, however, suggested what specific sanctions to enact weren't a focus of the Monday briefing. 

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinTrump officials brief lawmakers on North Korea Blackwater founder calls for military contractors in Afghanistan Tillerson moves to eliminate special envoy posts at State Dept.: report MORE (D-Md.) said, separately, that he and Corker have already started having conversations to make sure the committee has a sanctions bill.

In addition to Gardner's legislation, Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Poll finds little support for Menendez reelection Judge tells Menendez lawyer to 'shut up' MORE (D-N.J.), who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-S.C.) have introduced a proposal to crack down on North Korea. 

The Graham-Menendez bill would expand the administration's ability to sanction property or seize the financial assets of individuals or organizations that aid the North Korean government. 

Menendez said that he is talking with Gardner to see if they can work out their differences and "bring it to the chairman in a bipartisan effort."